Dearest Blog: If ever a person were worth a 90-minute drive on a Monday night, it'd be Ed Sheeran. Thus I found myself in Morgantown last night for Ed's concert movie Jumpers for Goalposts.
Spoiler level here will be...um...I dunno, really?
I wrote down the set list. Is that a spoiler?
Read on at your own risk then, I guess.
Jumpers for Goalposts kicks off with a full 45 minutes of "#edcarpet" coverage from the movie's London premiere, including a segment that features Sheeran responding to fans' Twitter questions and performing acoustic versions of Tenerife Sea, Bloodstream, and Thinking Out Loud.
The alternate versions of his hits are enjoyable, but it's otherwise an awkward exercise. Sheeran is visibly uncomfortable with the Q&A--as are many performers when they're in the public eye but not performing--and I'm thinking maybe suit-and-tie premiere attire wouldn't be his first choice.
The cute, good-natured presenter also does a bit too much buttering up, so it begins to feel fake despite the fact Sheeran *is* widely regarded as one of the nicest guys in the business. Overall, this opening act is far too drawn out; 20 minutes of it would have been more than enough.
Once the film finally gets to the Wembley residency, there are pieces from all three nights cut with behind-the-scenes footage, which may look familiar to US fans who will have seen much of it in the NBC special that aired over the summer. Sir Elton John makes a surprise appearance, joining Sheeran for a performance of his old hit Don't Go Breakin' My Heart (Ed in the Kiki Dee role!) and a bit of Afire Love.
John serves as a sort-of mentor to Sheeran, and amusingly names Ed the heir to a pop-music crown that hasn't been his to hand down for many, many years. John is not alone in his gushing praise, both of Sheeran's talent and of his kindness and loyalty. It's a recurring theme that, again, is so often raised that it starts to sound somewhat put-on. Not debating for a minute that Ed Sheeran is one hell of a nice guy, just that...well...eventually maybe they'd do better to just shut up and play another song.
As with the times I've seen Sheeran in concert, I was lucky to count my two favorites (Bloodstream and I See Fire) among the songs that made the movie's set list. The special guest was enthusiastically received, but, since the Elton John songs I like don't seem to be the Elton John songs everyone else likes, I was a bit ambivalent. Guess there's noplace for a would-be Kiki Dee in Madman Across the Water...go figure. Much camera time is devoted to crowd shots: singing and dancing fans, weeping teenagers, and two (2) marriage proposals that I counted. Having sold more than ten million units of his latest record, it's clear Sheeran's music speaks to a generation. Of course, some will always roll their eyes at any artist who moves that much product, but Sheeran is a solid singer/songwriter, and there's a fire in his live performance that doesn't begin to translate to his studio recordings. This film gives something of a feel for it--particularly an aggressive rendition of You Need Me (I Don't Need You)--but I enthusiastically encourage everyone to get out and see Ed Sheeran live for the full experience. I promise you will be impressed.
Jumpers for Goalposts full set list: I'm a Mess, Lego House, Photograph, Bloodstream, I See Fire, Don't Go Breakin' My Heart, Afire Love (partial), Thinking Out Loud, The A-Team, You Need Me (I Don't Need You), Sing.
Jumpers for Goalposts runs 150 minutes (including premiere coverage) and is unrated.
Dubious content is limited to references to drugs/drinking and a few f-bombs (some are censored; some made it into the finished product).
Jumpers for Goalposts will be released on DVD/Blu-Ray November 13th, and is now available for pre-order at edsheeran.com or your favorite online retailer.
While it's not quite on par with an actual live performance, Jumpers for Goalposts boasts some great tunes while providing an entertaining look at one of the world's biggest and most talented pop stars.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Jumpers for Goalposts gets seven.
Until next time...